Chaltu and her husband, Abebe, dreamed of becoming farmers to secure a better future for their three children. Their dreams faded, though, in the daily struggle of putting food on the table for their family. When their second son, Birhanu, joined the Compassion Child Sponsorship Program, the struggle eased a little. The provision of school supplies, clothing and medical care for Berhanu allowed them to focus on the needs of their other two children and work to provide for them.
Two years later, the couple was thrilled to learn that they had been selected to participate in the Compassion center's farming income-generating activity along with 18 other caregivers. The families worked hard on their farms, encouraged and supervised by the center staff. When news of the first COVID-19 case reached their town, they followed protective measures while harvesting tomatoes and cabbages and readying them for sale. A few weeks into the pandemic, they sold their produce and divided the profit among themselves after paying off the seed money they received from the center. Chaltu and Abebe were successful farmers!
“Had it not been for the income-generating scheme the center facilitated for us, we would have been in the same position as those who depended only on food distributions from the church,” says Chaltu. “Considering our family size, I can tell you for sure that I wouldn’t have been able to feed my children, let alone have a clear work plan and secured farmland for next year. I get chills just thinking about what I would have done.”
10-year-old Berhanu, who spends his spare time working alongside his father on the farm, says, “This work is better than the work my parents had previously because they have more money now and they buy me clothes. We always have food at home. My mom even shares meals with our neighbors who don’t have work because of COVID-19.”